A wise Zen mentor was resting with his quick-witted disciple. The master took out a melon out of his bag and cut it in half for the two of them to eat.
In the middle of the meal, the enthusiastic disciple said, “Teacher, I know everything you do has a meaning. Sharing this melon with me may be a sign that you have something to teach me.”
Without any reaction, the master continued eating in silence.
“I understand the mysterious question in your silence,” insisted the student. “I think it is this: the excellent taste of this melon that I am experiencing … is the taste on the melon or on my tongue …”
The master still said nothing. The disciple got a bit frustrated at his master’s apparent indifference.
The disciple continued, ” … and like everything in life, this too has meaning. I think I’m closer to the answer; the pleasure of the taste is an act of love and interdependence between the two, because without the melon there wouldn’t be an object of pleasure and without pleasure …”
“Enough!” exclaimed the master. “The biggest fools are those who consider themselves the most intelligent and seek an interpretation for everything! The melon is good; please let this be enough. Let me eat it in peace!”
Interestingly, the moral of the story is that intelligent peoples make the best fools.
Intelligence Can Sometimes Be a Curse
The tendency to reason and analyze is a part of human nature. It is a useful trait for discerning the many complexities of life. It’s only natural that you could go overboard sometimes and over-analyze a point or an issue to such a degree that the objective becomes all but moot.
Don’t get me wrong. Intelligence is indeed a gift. But intelligence can trick you into thinking you should be overthinking and calculating everything you do. The more intelligent you are, the more investigative you will be. The more your brain analyzes people and events, the more time it will spend on finding flaws in everything.
Intelligent People Overanalyze Everything, Even When it Doesn’t Matter
Many intelligent people tend to be perfectionists. Their overthinking often cripples their productivity, especially by leading them to undesirable, frustrating, and low-probability conclusions that can limit their ability to understand reality and take meaningful risks.
Intelligent people are too hard on themselves and others—family, friends, and co-workers. They can’t settle for anything less than perfect. They tend to be less satisfied with their achievements, their relationships, and practically everything that has a place in their life. What is more, many people with speculative minds hold idealistic views of the world and lack a sound acumen about coping with the practical world.
Idea for Impact: Don’t Make Everything Seem Worse Than it Actually is!
Thinking too much about things isn’t just a nuisance for you and others around you; it can take a toll on your well-being and on your relationships.
Check your tendency to overthink and overanalyze everything. Don’t twist and turn every issue in your head until you’ve envisaged the issue from all perspectives.
Sometimes it does help to overthink and be cautious about potential risks and downfalls. But most times, it’s unnecessary to ruminate excessively. Don’t make everything seem worse than it actually is. Set limits and prioritize. Learn to let go and manage your expectations.